Microsoft partnering with GM’s Cruise on self-driving car venture

Photo (c) darekm101 - Getty Images

The partnership brings Cruise’s valuation to $30 billion

Microsoft has announced that it’s teaming up with Cruise and General Motors to make the use of self-driving cars a not-too-distant reality. 

Cruise, the self-driving subsidiary of GM, has entered a “long-term strategic partnership” with Microsoft to “accelerate the commercialization of self-driving vehicles.” In an announcement, Microsoft said Cruise will use its Azure cloud platform to deliver self-driving technology “at scale.” 

“To unlock the potential of cloud computing for self-driving vehicles, Cruise will leverage Azure, Microsoft’s cloud and edge computing platform, to commercialize its unique autonomous vehicle solutions at scale,” the company said. 

Microsoft, meanwhile, will use Cruise’s knowledge of how to serve transportation companies. 

“Microsoft, as Cruise’s preferred cloud provider, will also tap into Cruise’s deep industry expertise to enhance its customer-driven product innovation and serve transportation companies across the globe through continued investment in Azure,” Microsoft said. 

The software giant is also joining GM, Honda, and previous investors in an equity investment of $2 billion for Cruise. The investment brings Cruise’s valuation to $30 billion, a jump which should help the AV company financially survive the pandemic and compete with rivals like Waymo. 

Accelerating the adoption of AVs

On Twitter, Cruise President and Chief Technical Officer Kyle Vogt said autonomous vehicles will be “a major lifestyle upgrade for billions of people, and one that requires almost zero effort to unlock.” 

“Tech to do this is hard,” Vogt said. “It’s not just AI, but realtime, safety-critical AI. There's also manufacturing, industrializing new tech, and rollout of fleets. Few companies can acquire or already possess the critical mass of talent, capital, tech, and expertise to pull this off.” 

“A handful of front-runner AV companies that look most likely to win are attracting substantially all of the best human capital and a huge chunk of the financial capital,” Vogt continued. “That is how a company without millions of customers can be valued at $30 billion. We’ve made some incredible progress towards this vision, but there is much left to do. Back to work!”

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